The latest animated feature from Pixar, Finding Nemo, has all the trademarks of its imprint, which produced A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and the Toy Story movies. The writing is witty, with a parodic, hipster's tone; the casting of the voices is ingenious; the visual design is zippy and inventive. You get the impression that the creators--directors Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich and writers Bob Peterson and David Reynolds--had the time of their lives, cracking themselves up in the studio.

Finding Nemo is about an adventurous young clownfish, just beginning school and eager to be out of the control of his possessive single dad. He gets scooped up by an amateur fisherman and lands in a tank in an office in Sydney, Australia. The fisherman is a dentist who intends young Nemo for his niece, a murderously irresponsible little girl whose mouthful of hardware is an ominous tribute to her uncle's profession.

The story, which Stanton worked up, intercuts the tale of Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould)--he's befriended by the other fish in the tank, who combine forces to help him return to the ocean--with that of his father, Marlin (Albert Brooks), who is searching the world for his son with the aid of an affable companion named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a sweet-natured blue fish with a short-term memory problem.